Ah yes, the purple stone. Amethyst, the birthstone for February got its name from the Greek word “amethystos” which means “not drunken”. Amethyst was suppose to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus which is why wineglasses were often carved from it. Amethyst is also the purple variety of quartz family. Historically, the finest amethyst were found in Russia.
While truly a jewelry innovator throughout it’s long and distinguished history, Van Cleef & Arpels has one design that stands out above all of the rest, the Zip necklace.
The zipper has gone through many fashion cycles. From being a novelty, to being invisible on our clothing to being visible on every item we carry.
Pearls have been prized throughout their history for their lustrous, sensuous beauty. Pearls are an oddity in the jewelry word. Unlike other gemstones, which must be extracted from the earth, pearls come from a living animal, a mollusk. They derive their iridescence, their glow, from an organic material called nacre; the mollusk secretes it when an irritant (usually a microscopic organism, not as commonly thought, a piece of sand) finds its way into the fleshy part inside the shell.
Remember this necklace? Well I wanted to give you the rest of the story. If you missed the first two chapters on the Duchess, please go back and read about her here and here. There is a post script to the iconic Queen Mary Pearl strand.
This has not been an easy post. Let me rephrase, if I had just stuck to the jewelry, it would have been really easy. Although I thought I had a grasp of their complexity, I will say, after much research, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, were very complicated people. Both had all kinds of issues…daddy issues, power issues, ivory tower issues, narcissistic tendencies….I could go on and on. Yes, they had a love story…..but it did not have the happy ending either of them anticipated. They did have fabulous wealth, they traveled extensively and they did meet extraordinary people but they kind of got “stuck” together. They both were used to getting their way. This is now going to be a two part post!